Construction projects can be big, complex and often unruly, with regulatory issues, safety concerns, equipment rentals, multiple teams and more. If you want to keep a construction project on track and meet your deadlines, you want construction scheduling software that is robust and dynamic.
There are many construction scheduling software products on the market that sell themselves as the go-to tool for the construction project manager. But how do they measure up to the task? We’ve taken a look at the best for you—here are our top picks.
What Is Construction Scheduling?
First, let’s outline construction project management and how it differs from other disciplines. Construction, as an industry, covers a wide gamut of projects such as residential, renovation, heavy industry, commercial, institutional and engineering projects. Some projects are narrowly defined, but construction project management always involves a wide range of skills and crafts, such as leadership, planning and resource management.
Where construction project management differs from other projects is in the particulars of design, pre-construction, procurement and, of course, the construction. Like other project managers, construction project managers must determine feasibility, plan, schedule, manage resources and make budgets—in addition to monitoring, tracking and reporting.
The Primary Purpose of a Construction Schedule
As for construction scheduling, it is part of the planning phase and is instrumental in delivering the project on time and within budget. Construction, more than many other types of project management, is really a succession of many smaller projects. Organizing each of these phases to work together is one of the main hurdles any project manager must clear when creating a construction project schedule.
Like any schedule, there are two main focuses: identifying tasks and their duration, then assigning someone to be responsible for following those tasks to successful completion. If you can get this foundation to your schedule done correctly, then managing materials, labor and equipment will fall into place.
This includes determining when each task must be completed and managing the associated resources necessary to execute that task. The construction schedule is allows project managers to see if the expectations of their stakeholders are viable, what the budget for the project will be, creating a process for bid estimates, safety performance and eliminating potential bottlenecks to get the project finished by its deadline.
2021 Best Construction Scheduling Software Rankings
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software. That means it can be used anywhere and by anyone, which is of course a benefit to construction scheduling, where work occurs on-site and among multiple teams.
Beyond that, the suite of tools featured offers a means to control every aspect of the construction planning, from organizing tasks, costs and resources to linking dependent tasks and setting milestones to break the larger schedule up into more manageable bits. That’s in addition to the larger construction project management of construction project planning, construction vendor management, construction cost management and more.
Schedule with Gantt Charts
For example, ProjectManager.com has an online Gantt chart tool that is a visual timeline of the project, with tasks represented by two points, start date and end date. The duration of the task is indicated by a line, which can be easily edited by simply dragging and dropping when and if there is a change in the schedule.
The online Gantt chart can also assign tasks to individuals on the team. They can then collaborate at the task level, leaving comments and adding relevant documents and images directly to the task. If any of those tasks are dependent on another being complete before they can begin, the construction project manager can link them, preventing bottlenecks and leaving your crew idle.
Track Your Resources
Another aspect of construction schedule software that is complex is resource management. Construction requires many different skill sets working together throughout the many phases of the project, which the tool can coordinate with features that chart availability, skillset, cost and allocation of the various workforce and materials. All this in real-time, so the pieces come together as you need them.
Once you’ve scheduled the work, you can track your crew and streamline the payment process with timesheets that track the hours your team works, whether in the office or on-site. Timesheets can be updated and submitted anywhere for easy review by managers, who can approve with a keystroke. Plus, all your files are uploaded to the cloud, where they can be accessed when needed.
Given all these amazing features at a low price-point, it’s clear that ProjectManager.com is the heavyweight champ of construction project management software. Click here to start a 30-day free trial!
Construction project managers use Procore for HR, safety and financial concerns related to the construction schedule. It has a place for the many documents related to construction. There’s an employee contact log, with everyone’s certification, though billing is very confusing and, even if understood, not up to the industry standard.
It’s a decent construction scheduling software for medium to large construction companies, but if you’re running a smaller outfit, the software is too bulky and likely too expensive. It is good for end-users, in that it involves them in the planning for future projects and improvements.
That said, it’s not great if you’re interfacing with architects and engineers or subcontractors. The integrating is also spotty, including financials, and the bidding module doesn’t update automatically.
CoConstruct is a popular construction software, but with limited scheduling features. It is web-based and used by contractors, modelers and design-build companies. It has features such as activity planning, scheduling, estimating, budgeting and communications.
One of the pluses of CoConstruct is that it’s easy to customize and has good customer service if you do need assistance. However, one downside for those who are window shopping is the fact that CoConstruct doesn’t offer a free trial.
It’s also expensive and has limited integrations, which can frustrate users who are interested in a system that works with their other software packages, related to construction or not, such as accounting and social tools.
The good thing about e-Builder is that it’s made with scheduling government projects in mind. It helps with updating submittals, communications and invoicing. It, however, is a bit of an uphill battle to learn how to use it.
Once you clear the training hurdle, it organizes documents easily and has notifications, which help with updates and changes throughout the project. The layout can be confusing. It’s cluttered and overwhelming, but does offer a lot of specifics related to managing government-issued projects.
It does have a nice scheduling feature, which helps manage large organizations with many employees, but the usability is not ideal or intuitive. It also doesn’t autosave, which can be problematic.
Communications are key to good construction scheduling and executing that schedule. Smartsheet is a nice program to streamline and add efficiency to your project communications. With Smartsheet, work is managed so that construction projects can stay productive through better communication.
The software also manages the avalanche of paperwork involved in any project, which goes double for a construction project. With improved documentation to capture issues as they arise in a project, teams can collaborate more effectively on Smartsheet. Not only teams, but vendors and clients can also be added into the loop.
All of this saves time and creates more accurate management of project resources. However, Smartsheet lacks good Gantt functionality, which is critical for making and executing construction schedules and plans. Check our blog to learn about the best Smartsheeet alternatives of 2021.
Construction project management is a big field that requires robust and dynamic project management software to handle all its moving parts. ProjectManager.com is a construction project management software that has the tools to plan, monitor and report on every phase of the project’s life cycle. It is uniquely equipped for construction, with visual workflow features like its kanban boards and online Gantt charts that schedule and help teams collaborate. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial.